New year, new rules

Thirty-one ways to make sports better, from the minds of ESPN The Magazine

Updated: January 2, 2010, 1:13 PM ET
ESPN The Magazine

Sports, you have issues. And for once we don't mean concussions, PEDs or the New Jersey Nets. No, we're calling you on your endless baseball games, your flopping and, of course, that beast called instant replay. Now, we're not looking to make you the perfect companion. And we know some flaws -- say, the BCS -- we'll just have to live with. But embrace these 31 tweaks and you will be stronger, smarter and more fun to hang with. It's a new decade; time for change.

If you're a loyal ESPN Insider , check out The Mag's 31 rules below and be sure to weigh in on the SportsNation poll embedded in each page.

1. Mandate universal instant replay
2. Spike NFL pace of play
3. Make pitchers pitch and hitters hit
4. Limit catcher visits
5. Scrap the alternate possession rule
6. Seed 16 World Cup teams
7. Toss golf's scorecards
8. Unify football's rules
9. Contract 40-man rosters
10. Allow 30 seconds of penalty-free post-TD celebration
11. Standardize trunk length
12. Eliminate the NBA's age limit
13. Change field dimensions
14. Make NASCAR drivers earn starting spots
15. Seed NBA and NHL playoffs without regard to conference
16. Let higher seeds pick playoff foes
17. Seed for surface in tennis
18. Let MMA fighters knee, kick or stomp downed foes
19. Blow the whistle on fouling out
20. Permit free drops from fairway divots
21. Allow a little roughing the passer
22. Brush back the DH
23. Drop the dropped third strike
24. Bring back the perfect 10
25. Five-minute penalty for flopping
26. Rethink soccer suspensions
27. Tweak the NHL's waiver system
28. Ban the whip
29. Make fall baseball fair
30. Enforce existing rules
31. Fix overtime